Handicapped Columbia resident struggles with Bird Scooters

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COLUMBIA - Another Columbia resident is voicing her complaints about Bird scooters, and this time, she's talking to city council.

The scooters have been in Columbia for a few weeks now. People can use the Bird app to rent the scooters and then when they're done, they leave the scooters anywhere they want. 

Marla Grothoff said people are leaving the scooters in the way. She said she was riding her wheelchair on Stadium on Friday, Sept. 14, when she noticed an obstacle coming her way.

“Middle of the street I realized there are three scooters right in front of the access ramp back up to the sidewalk," she said.

Grothoff tried to move the scooters with her chair, but she said she couldn't get them out of the way. She said when traffic started to move again, she was scared.

"You know, I’m in a wheelchair," Grothoff said. "I’m very conscious that I'm not easily seen so I take a lot of precautions and here I am, stuck in the street and I'm gonna have to cross back four lanes of traffic to get out of the street, so it was not good.”

Grothoff said a driver stopped traffic to get out of her car and move the scooters so Grothoff could get back on the sidewalk.

Grothoff said Columbia sidewalks are already difficult enough without the added problem of Bird scooters in the way.

“Sidewalks in Columbia are narrow anyway, and if [scooters are] sitting across the sidewalk you can’t get around," she said.

Despite the problems she sees, Grothoff said she does see some good in the scooters.

“I think there can be a good use for them, the kids are having fun on them, but they can’t be allowed to run amok,” she said.

Grothoff has taken her concerns to the city council. She said one councilmen told her he would pass her concerns on to City Manager Mike Matthes.

"It’s going to have to be the City of Columbia making some regulations and working with Bird and Bird's going to have to step up and be responsible for this too," Grothoff said. "They've got a good idea, but it’s got to be polished.”